This is another one of the recipes I got from a Martha Stewart living magazine. Its blurb says that they were shown on the November 1998 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine and prompted scores of calls from readers saying they were the best ginger cookies ever.
The girls and I made them and we discovered that to get them beautiful and cracked on top is a bit of an art. It’s one part size and one part location in the oven. The tiny cookies we made didn’t split on top at all. The medium sized ones did, but only if they were in the middle of the oven. The bottom rack of middle sized cookies didn’t crack.
The recipe calls for shortening, which undoubtedly means Crisco. We made them with butter and they were fine. But maybe they would have cracked better with Crisco?
The recipe says that it makes 2 dozen 4-in cookies.
4-1/2 c flour
4t ground ginger
2t baking soda
1-1/2t ground cinnamon
1t ground cloves
1-1/2 c shortening
3/4c coarse sugar for rolling
Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cream the shortening and sugar until fluffy. Beats in the eggs and molasses, then slowly mix in the dry ingredients.
Shape into balls a bit bigger than an inch in diameter. Roll in coarse sugar if you have it and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in a 350° oven for 12 to 14 minutes. Longer cooking times will make the cookies crispy rather than chewy.
Cool on the cookie sheets for 2 minutes because they will be very soft when they come out. Then transfer to wire racks to cool completely before storing.
As always, remember to store heavily spiced cookies like these in a container by themselves!